Why Cross River Northern Senatorial district electorate will vote APC
By: Nsa Gill
All Progressive Congress is kicking off its campaigns for the 2019 elections in Cross River State from the Northern Senatorial district of the state.
The campaigns according to official information from the campaign organisation, is taking the format of town hall meetings with a single wrap-up rally for each senatorial district.
The Northern Senatorial district is where the incumbent governor of the State, Senator Ben Ayade is a native. Politically he is of the Peoples’ Democratic Party- PDP, a party that has governed the state from 1999 to date. However, the APC is confident it will achieve the record of being the first opposition party in the State to defeat a seating government.
The confidence of APC is not far-fetched. According to Senator John Owan-Enoh, the governorship candidate of the APC in the state, “when you have a chance to get elected into office, and you wish to have another tenure. What you do is to tell the electorates what you did in the first chance you got.”
“What has the incumbent governor done in the state?” Owan-Enoh asked and equally proffered answers, saying, “the incumbent governor has eroded all the good things that Cross River State was known. Good governance, clean environment, tourism infrastructure, due process in government contracts, virile civil service. I can mention many more things which the current government in the state has taken a detour from the developmental track which was laid by previous administration.”
“The governor of Cross River State was quoted as saying that he has no reason to campaign because he does not have opposition in the state. That is a lie. The real reason he does not want to campaign is that he has nothing to show across the state for the last four years.”
“In our years in the PDP, after every four years, during elections, we toured the entire 18 local government areas in the state and, in each local government, we indicate what we did within those four years. Also, we will indicate what we are going to do when we get elected back. Don’t accept the lies from the administration; it is a lying administration,” he alleged.
Adding, “four years ago, as a state, the governor had to depend on zoning to get him to government house. If he wants to be re-elected, it should be achievements and not zoning that can get him there. It is an insult on the state and its people for a governor having the advantage of all the resources coming to the state to development the state and to showcase your achievement, but because you have done nothing, after four years, you still make recourse to zoning, what an insult. We must resist that insult as a state.”
History has it that in 1999, it was Donald Duke from the southern part of the State that emerged governor out of a contest with other contenders across the three senatorial districts in the state. Duke got re-elected for a second term in office in 2003, unarguably by the record of performance.
He was succeeded by Senator Liyel Imoke from the central senatorial district of the State, four years after in 2007. Imoke, like Duke, faced a contest from contenders across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Even though his tenure was checkered, as his election was annulled by a court verdict twice, but he won the fresh elections that were ordered by the courts and equally won a second term, which he completed in 2015.
Political pundits believe he won his election by merit and record of performance over his challengers, across all the senatorial districts. However, by the end of Imoke's eight years tenure of two terms, sentiments became high that his successor should come from the northern part of the state.
For the first time in the State, merit was not as significant as the argument of zoning to the Northern part of the State. Eventually, Senator Ben Ayade emerged from a guided process midwived by the powers that be at the time in the state.
Other contenders, mostly from the same northern senatorial district were out-smarted by intrigues and split-entrenched interests.
The 2019 elections is another opportunity for the electorates in the State to decide, and issues for consideration has been brought up before the people by entrenched interests.
The APC is accusing the PDP in the state of trying to make zoning a factor in 2019 as a cover-up to non-performance, and the PDP on their part is not shying away from the discussion, insisting that since Duke and Imoke did two terms, Ayade should be allowed to do two-terms as well.
Indications are high that zoning and tribal sentiments which the PDP is trying to draw advantage from will not fly, Ntufam Ekpo Okon,running mate in the APC governorship ticket said. He was speaking during an audience, he granted a private Radio station in the state.
His words, "there is growing evidence of the need to rescue the State from a clear exhibition of mediocracy, quackery and infantilization in the actions and inactions of the Ayade’s administration."
The APC has a stronger political machinery and structure in the state then other opposition political parties and the flag bearer of the APC, Senator John Owan-Enoh and his running mate, Ntufam Ekpo Okon are very strong political gladiators in the State, over time, their reach, as well as contacts and popularity, are across the state, analysts maintained.
Indications that the APC may win the northern part of the state at the polls was evident when recently, one of the chieftains of the APC in the State, Hon. Paul Adah from the northern part of the State was honoured with the traditional title named, UNWA-USHIE, the highest honour to any son or daughter that had used the privileged of their position in public office to help their people and the community.
The Obudu Traditional Council of Chiefs conferred the honour. “Why was Governor Ben Ayade, also a son of Obudu not on the honours' list?” That was the question on the lips of many onlookers.
Instead, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu was honoured alongside the APC chieftain.
The Director General of the APC Campaign Organisation in the state, Sir Maurice Effiwatt, who was a guest at the event, remarked that “the absence of the incumbent governor, Senator Ben Ayade in the list of honorees, is evidence to many that the people of the North were Ayade hails from, have spoken regarding his poor level of performance in his area and across the state”.
Hon. Paul Adah, one of the honourees, on his part said “Governor Ben Ayade, clearly is our son, but at the same time, our people are exposed and knowledgeable. They have eyes and can see. They have experience different administrations by former governors in the state at various times, and it is the administration of the state by their son, Ben Ayade that have brought decay to infrastructure in the area.”
He counted the pains of Northern Cross River people against their son Governor Ayade of the PDP and why they will vote for the APC as a credible alternative to rescue the state, bring back better days and take us to the next level to align with the APC government at the federal level.
According to him, “Obudu Ranch Resort has been run aground by their own Son, Ben Ayade. Former Governor Donald Duke from the southern part came and made Obudu a truly international tourists’ delight with high standards of service and infrastructure. Duke also initiated the Obudu International mountain race in the resort but from the first year in office of Ayade, not only was the resort ran aground, he cancelled the sporting fiesta.”
“Former governor Liyel Imoke added to the Obudu mountain race by introducing the children and Media race to it as well as improved on equipping the Bebi Air-strip in Obanliku, all of that Ayade has neglected.”
“The roads in the area were maintained when the government could not immediately do reconstruction. Ayade came and scrapped the roads in the name of reconstruction and abandon same with attendant health hazard following the dusty nature of the exposed earth surface. Accidents occur on the damaged roads and people leaving along the roadsides, cannot have a decent living and environment in their homes”.
“The power supply from the national grip to Obudu main town and continue rural electrification programme of state government into communities has been stopped by Ayade’s administration. He claimed to establish a power plant in Obudu, but it was a diesel engine power generating power plant which was refurbished and brought in. Few days after the installation and commissioning, the plant has not worked nor provide any power supply”.
“There is a catalogue of things which the people of the north have seen and experienced, and they have been able to compare and contrast to know who their brother truly is. Is it the one with your best interest as a people and a community or the one that has not shown interest in the people and the community but only mentions the heritage he shares with you?”
“I want to say that the vote from the north will shock many that thought APC may perform very well in the north because of Ben Ayade. The people of northern Cross River will vote APC, and you will see it from the first elections of February 16th before the elections of March 2,” he concluded.